Australia have two nominees for the Women’s Sevens player of the year award, as the team prepares for the final stop of the tour in Amsterdam.
Together they will be the driving force behind Australia’s gold medal chances at the Rio Olympics in 2016, but on Sunday Australian stars Charlotte Caslick and Emilee Cherry will go head-to-head for the Women’s Sevens player of the year award.
The duo have helped orchestrate a breakout year for the women’s national side, who have won two tournaments and could clinch the overall series with victory in the final stop in Amsterdam this weekend.
Australia must win the title and hope New Zealand miss the final to claim it, but even if they fall short, the wheels are in motion for an Olympics tilt in two years time.
Caslick and Cherry are amongst four nominees for player of the year honours, which will be announced after the tournament, with New Zealand duo Sarah Goss and Kayla McAlister also shortlisted.
The Aussie pair were both recruited from Australia’s touch football ranks when rugby was announced as an Olympic sport, and over the past 12 months, sport has gone from a bit of fun to a full-time profession.
Halfback Caslick at just 19 years of age, is the youngest of the nominees and has set the women’s rugby scene alight, scoring 10 tries in her first full season.
Cherry, 21, is blessed with blistering speed and athleticism at centre and is the competition’s leading try and point scorer with 24 tries and 138 points.
To make the player of the year race even more enthralling, Queenslanders Caslick and Cherry are best friends who live together on Sydney’s northern beaches near Australia’s Narrabeen training bases.
Caslick says her and Cherry are hoping they draw for the MVP gong.
“Just being nominated with someone like Emilee (is an honour) because she’s undoubtedly the best player in the world to me,” Caslick told AAP.
“It’s just really humbling and quite a shock to be honest.
“It’s just really good for our team because obviously me and Emilee wouldn’t have been nominated if our team weren’t performing as highly as they have. It’s a reflection of how well we’ve all done this year and another building block for our ultimate dream of the Olympics.
“I think if the core of our team now can stay together … we’ll be in a really strong position come that Olympic year if we qualify next year.”